Valentine’s Day, the day of Love, is soon approaching. Many couples will be celebrating, although many will celebrate indoors due to COVID concerns. While you are preparing for how you will celebrate, think about what this day will mean for many others. Also think about what Love really means.
Three women friends are on my mind who recently lost their spouses due to death. I am sure that Valentine’s Day will forever be sad for them, and especially the first Valentine’s Day after their spouse’s death. While good memories will also be with them, their loss will most likely be more pronounced on this day. I wish I had thought of this and them in time to send them a note, but I didn’t. One receives many cards and notes soon after a loved one’s death, then after a few weeks and months most of us go back to our normal routines, failing to remember that for those who suffered the loss most directly, routines will never be normal again. Yes, life goes on after a loss, and as the years pass, the loss is not as acute, but it never goes away. I am thinking of two other friends who lost their spouses to death eight years ago, and I am sure that they feel their loss very acutely on Valentine’s Day. And that has nothing to do with roses or chocolate.
Almost forty years ago, when I was without a romantic partner, a coworker gave me a Valentine’s card. I don’t remember exactly what was written on the card, but something about believing that I would find love again, and that she was thinking of me at that time. I was so touched by her thoughtfulness, and this many years later, I am still touched by it. What a thoughtful expression of kindness. Whenever I think of that co-worker, Geri, her kindness is my memory. Geri was right, I did find love again, but had I not, I hope I would still have had a full life, like my friend I mention below.
Valentine’s Day is about Love and does not need to be just for those who have Love with romantic partners. We all need Love, and on this day set aside for Love, we can broaden our thoughts about how to show Love to our family and friends. I sent our grandchildren Valentine’s Day cards, but why did I not send our children, their parents, a card or a note telling them what they mean to me? Because I did not think about it. I hope to do better, and not just for Valentine’s Day.
I have a good friend who has never married and who has not had a romantic partner in the thirty-five years that I have known her. She has a full life without romantic Love. Last night she even commented that she is one of the happiest people that she knows! I agree that she is, and that she has a wonderful life. She is financially and emotionally independent, and has several families that have adopted her, (ours being one of those!) and whose children she cares for deeply. She is my best example of someone who has found happiness without being legally connected to anyone else.
As I think about my friend, I analyze what she has that many others lack, those legally connected to others and those who aren’t. I think I have found the secret, which isn’t really a secret at all. She is happy with herself and doesn’t need anyone else to complete her. She has healthy self-esteem, knowing at her core that she is a person of worth, and treats herself and others well. She has not lamented any loss by not having a romantic partner in her life, having found happiness within and through her many connections. She also has a career that she loves and is very competent and confident in it and committed to it.
Some people want and even need the Love of a romantic partner. There is nothing wrong with that. There is good solid research that married people are happier and even live longer than those who aren’t married. The problem occurs when that need is not satisfied, and the person feels incomplete without someone else.
Love, on Valentine’s Day and all days. Love those to whom you are connected, legally or otherwise. But also Love yourself. Believe that you are enough, just like you are, with or without anyone else. For only when we are complete within ourselves can we really be our best with others.
Be enough for yourself. Then reach out and show Love to others. For you know, “What the world needs now………”